There are two kinds of women in this world: women who wear heels, and women who don’t.
Sure, we all switch between the two on occasion, but every woman has a default. I default to heels; this much I know.
Garance Dore’s recent Pardon My French installment, A Day in Heels, got me thinking about heels, and the myriad reasons die-hard heels girls stick to them, especially when—let’s be honest here—some heels are as excruciating as they are gorgeous.
That Iconic Red Sole
In the video, Garance spends her day in a pair of Christian Louboutin heels, of course. Louboutin is the patron saint of stiletto lovers across the globe (and a fellow Frenchie), so choosing to spend 12+ hours in Louboutins is de rigueur. Like Frenchies and red lipstick. But that’s another post.
That flash of iconic red sole speaks volumes about both the shoe and the wearer; with it comes a heady mix of subliminal messages, especially when the wearer has chosen the 100mm or 120mm heel heights (read: high and higher). Wearing a high heel in and of itself is attention-getting. Wearing a Louboutin heel conjures thoughts of money, privilege, luxury, power, sex, fearlessness, and exclusivity. They are sought after and worn by princesses, pole dancers, politicians, prostitutes, pop stars, and proponents of philanthropy. No brand has ever traversed so many demographic levels so elegantly.
From the the altar to the courthouse to the boardroom and back again, many of us prefer to face life’s victories and adversities one heel-shod foot at a time. Louboutin’s red sole is the cherry on top/bottom, but our mojo comes from the heel itself. Three inches, four, five, even six. Whether they are leather, vinyl, strappy, bold, platformed, peep-toed, pointed, or chunky, for millions of women, it’s give me heels or give me…heels.
Why I Love High Heels
I have a pair of Pigalle 120s, my dream stiletto, and a Louboutin classic. They hurt like holy hell after an hour, and I can barely walk in them. But there truly is no sexier or more beautiful stiletto. Even if I have to cling to Hubby for dear life when wearing them, when I do, I feel like…what can I say? A woman. A grown-up woman.
With or without the red soles, I default to heels. From the moment I could conceptualize my mom’s towering, wooden-soled heels of the late ’70s, all I ever wanted to do was wear heels. For me, there is no greater delineator of femininity than high heels. I can’t remember the age I was allowed to finally don them, but once I did, I never looked back. I just don’t feel “dressed” if I’m not wearing heels. Plus, Flats Are Overrated.
Heels make me feel sexy, yes. They feel polished. They also make me feel more powerful. Wearing heels and walking in them gracefully is an art, and any woman that can stride effortlessly in towering heels is not just a sight to be seen, she’s an intimidating one. I already scare the sh*t out of most people, but I consider high heels a necessary part of my professional wardrobe, and a competitive advantage. I can see eye-to-eye with most of my peers and upper-level execs, including the male ones. Nothing about me translates as weak/victim/meek, and my heel-created-height helps substantiate that.
That’s the irony of heels; along with the breasts, they always play a starring role in any caricature of the female form. They objectify us, even as they empower us. They give us height but slow us down. They make us confident while they unbalance us.
As Christian Louboutin mentions in his interview with Garance in the video (around the 7:23 mark), a woman in heels cannot run. Heels demand grace and measure; prudence in one’s comings and goings; exaggerated car entrances and exits. And so, let us meet those paramours, run those corporations, demand those raises, settle those cases, and navigate those cobblestones in our own, sweet, stiletto-studded time. Let us revel in the irony and the height and the spectacle, in the one thing that makes us unmistakably, unapologetically, undeniably 100% female: our high heels.
Are you a heels girl? Why or why not?
P.S. I can guarantee that poor Garance’s hooves throbbed well into the night after her little experiment. Loubs are not padded, not even a millimeter of padding exists on the non-platform pairs. But how chic was she? Sex on stick, even paired with cropped trousers.